A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment. I assure you I always read and appreciate everything you have to say. Unfortunately, thanks to Blogger being, well . . . Blogger, I can not respond to comments nor leave any on your blogs. They simply disappear into the ether. Occasionally I will remember to respond in the next blog post I put up, but usually these good intentions slip my mind. So if you want to ask a question or get a response to any comments you may have please leave an email address or other contact method in your comment and I will get back to you.

I have also added a separate page to the blog for the Tower of Magic with a brief summary of all the rooms of the ToM in the one spot. The link is just below this and above the main body of the blog, or you can just click here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tower of Magic - The Bathroom

Firstly, I'd like to remind all of you who choose to leave comments on my blog that Blogger will not let me respond to them directly (nor leave comments on your blogs).  This is why I will occasionally start a blog post by responding to a comment.  When I fail to make any response to a comment, it is usually because I've forgotten that I intend to do so by the time I get around to writing the post.  If anyone ever does ask a question and not get a response, please just keep asking and jogging my memory until you do.   I do appreciate comments even if my inability to respond to them directly leads to my forgetting to do so.

In response to Rosie's comment on the Tower of Magic page: No, I don't know any other miniaturists in Launceston.  There is at least one group/club out there as the Examiner once published a photo of a little vignette made at a group workshop, but it had only a one sentence caption and did not include any contact details for the group.  I googled them at the time, but got no results.  There is the 'Miniature Enthusiasts of Tasmania' based in Hobart and they may know of groups or people based in Launceston if you ask.  The only contact point for them on the web seems to be their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miniature-Enthusiasts-of-Tasmania-Inc/475351902532998.  Lara Copper, who make full size and miniature pots and kitchenware, are based in Launceston and may know about local groups and individuals if you ask them (especially if you buy something too!).

In the ToM bathroom, I've added a shiny gold . . . . thingy to the ceiling.  It's not a chandelier as there are no provision for candles or light bulbs on it.  It does however fill in the bland empty spot that was there before.  It's made from five large filigree flower shaped findings bent to a slight curve and tied together with gold wire.

With this addition in place I'm calling the Bathroom finished.  Am I happy with it?  Of course not.  I should never have reduced the size of the bath tub.  Yes it was too large for the space, but now the mermaid looks like she doesn't have anywhere near enough room to splash about in.  The colours are wrong.  If I weren't so lazy I might have repainted the furniture in a different colour, perhaps a deep purple like the mermaid's tail?

Whatever my overall opinion of the room, there are some elements of the room that do work.  No one will ever confuse my stove with one of the versions made by the likes of Reutter Porcelain, but for something that cost less than a tenth the price of a Reutter stove I think it is highly effective.

By now you've probably noticed that I like doing girly dressing tables with lots of sparkly pots and treasures with this one being a fine example of my style in this area.

Last week I did promise to show you Orchid Cottage totally finished.  Unfortunately, it's not quite there yet and still needs a few small tweaks before it's ready to be revealed.  I'll show it to you next time and until then I'll leave you with this sneak peek at the front porch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Added Detail

I've continued to add details to Orchid Cottage this week.  Some of the furniture has moved about or simply been added or removed and I think I've finally gotten it right.  Probably.

The floral throw across the foot of the bed was all wrong so I've replaced it with some velveteen in purple and wine with a little lace trim and I like the bed much better because of it.  I've added a storage chest at the foot of the bed and added some faux cupboard doors which access some imaginary storage under the eaves of the roof.

I've dressed up the top of the chest of drawers with some typical dressing table items.

 Downstairs, the sofa is now at the front of the room and the dining table at the back.  This looks more pleasing than having the two tables right at the front but makes it hard for the resident to sit and gaze out the front window.  The back of the sofa was quite bland so I added interest with a panel of fabric and recovered the rest of the sofa in the same fabric.

On the back wall the wrinkled wallpaper has been covered up with this large framed picture.  The table holds a floral arrangement but still needs a little something more - perhaps a lacy doily under the flowers.  I don't want to totally cover up the wooden top, but at the moment it's a little too bare.

The ToM Bathroom now has all the features that are part of the plan for the room but it's still lacking something.  I tried sitting the partly made canopy back in place, but that still looks wrong.  Perhaps a canopy with thinner, more delicate supporting posts or perhaps some sort of large chandelier hung overhead.  Overall, I think it's time to give up adding rooms to the ToM, they rarely co-operate and it's just as rare if I actually whole heartedly like the end result.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Moving Around

Just once, it would be nice to have a house where everything just fell into place; where the vision in mind just worked out in reality exactly as intended.  Sadly, Orchid Cottage definitely is not the one.  The furniture has been moved around in here dozens of times and I still haven't managed to get it right.

Upstairs in the bedroom there is currently a bed, a chest of drawers that will double as a dressing table, a writing table and chair and an armchair and embroidery table by the fire.  The hip tub and washstand I wanted to have in here are currently shuffled out.  The problem I have with this space is it just looks awkward, crowded and confused no matter how I lay it out.

The other issue is in the fabrics I've used.  They are different for every piece of furniture with clashing patterns.  I did this to try something different from my usual style but it is pretty clear why I have a usual style that does not involve mixing patterns.  Although I think the geometric purple fabric on the pillows and top of the bed actually work rather well, the large floral fabric across the foot is just wrong.  I'm not sure if it's the pattern I don't like or if I just need to use a darker coloured fabric to anchor it more.  And the everything different look - some people can pull it off and make a room look really good done that way.  I am not one of them.

One piece of furniture that has been made and installed and will not move (I hope) is the kitchen range.  This was made from balsa wood, toothpicks, scraps of cardboard and some beads.  As you can see above, it was made in two sections but I still had trouble wiggling the finished pieces into the hole in the wall created to accommodate it.

It was made using images of Victorian era ranges as a guide and includes a water tank for hot water on the left.  A yellow bucket hangs from the tap used to release the water.  Beside the water tank is a grate where coal (beads) are burning to create the heat with a hotplate above.  All down the right side are enclosed ovens.  Along the wall beside the range is a filled dresser and an icebox.  I think the ice box could use some decals or other decoration to liven it up a touch.

 Originally, I intended to have just the round table in the room to double as a kitchen workspace and dining table, but at some point in my indecisive re-arranging I decided to add a second table for the kitchen and reserve the round table for dining.  The kitchen work table was quickly knocked together using balsa wood and some turned posts.  I like the kitchen half of the room with this new table but the living half of the room is still wrong.

Again, the fabrics used on the sofa aren't working but mostly the layout of the furniture just doesn't look right.  I'm thinking I might put in a fireplace somewhere are this end of the room but I want to be sure I like how the furniture will be laid out before I do anything so permanent.

In the ToM bathroom, I've finally filled the bath tub and because it is the Tower of Magic I decided to add a mermaid

Her top half is a cheap porcelain ballerina doll whose legs were chopped off while her tail is a cone of purple fabric stuffed with fill and a length of wire to make the tail bendable.  Purple fantasy film was used to create the fin at the end of her tail.  The tub is filled with glass marbles.  Over the marbles is a layer of Scenic Water treated to create the effect of bubbles.  I make these bubbles by firstly putting some detergent in a jar with a little water and shaking vigorously to make foam.  The foam is left to stand while I heat and melt the Scenic Water.  The water in the jar will collect in the bottom once it's been standing for a while and the water can then be tipped out leaving just the foam behind.  I then add some melted Scenic Water to the jar and shake again so the Scenic Water coats the bubbly foam.  This was then spooned out into the tub and squirted into the harder to reach places with a large nosed syringe.

Before doing this I reduced the size of the tub as I had reached the conclusion what I had was too big for the space.  Unfortunately, what I left myself with now looks far too puny.  So I'm going back to plan A . . .

  . . . Which was to have a step around the bottom of the tub.  This is the original step cut for the larger tub so it needs to be reduced a little as well.  And now I'm wondering if I should bring the over-tub canopy back again too . . . .

Finally, a few weeks ago I complained about the size of a 12th scale hip tub I'd bought online.  To further illustrate this complaint, here is the new tub beside the larger 12th scale tub I've had for years.  These were both sold as 12th scale, yet they are totally different sizes.  Even in the 'big' tub it would be hard for an adult to fit themselves and some water in at the same time, the the 'little' tub, no chance.  If you are in the market for a hip tub like this, please be very careful to check exactly what size it is even if it is sold as 12th scale!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sparkly Things

This week I added a lot of the accessories for the ToM bathroom.

The cupboard has been filled with spare towels and bottles of soaps and other supplies.

The dressing table is loaded with bottles of perfumes and unguents, a bowl of assorted jewellery and some candles for extra lighting.

There are more sparkly bottles by the sink and a raised soap dish that brings the soap up to the level of the top of the sink.

The canopy over the bath has gone; it just wasn't going to work in the space.  I may replace it with a large chandelier or some such hanging over the tub.

In the back corner the toilet has been finished off with a chain and a roll of loo paper.  This room now just needs the bath finishing off and a few people and accessories adding.

Over at Orchid Cottage  I've started working inside and have the floors, walls and ceilings covered.

Upstairs, the walls are 'papered' with a pretty floral fabric.  The floor is covered with a shiny floor board look paper.  It doesn't look as authentic as a real wooden floor would, but something I've noticed about the way I decorate is that there is very little visible floor left at the end - so why fuss over what you'll not see anyway?

The ceiling beams downstairs are my solution to prevent the ceiling from sagging without an internal wall to support it.  The floor is paper again, this time in a parquet pattern.

The walls are covered in a green stripe paper topped with a balsa wood plate shelf.  The furniture will be refinished in a different colour.